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Swan Named Winner of Museums’ Ubora Award

SPRINGFIELD — Former state Rep. Benjamin Swan has been named the recipient of the 26th annual Ubora Award conferred by the African Hall Subcommittee of the Springfield Science Museum.

In Swahili, Ubora means “excellence.”

Swan was nominated by Denise Jordan and Fred Allen Swan.

As a civil rights activist, Ben Swan was the Western Mass. coordinator for the monumental 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, and he is recognized as the preeminent leader of the 1960s civil rights movement in the City of Springfield, and he served as president of the Greater Springfield branch of the NAACP.

For 24 years, Swan served as state representative for the 11th Hampden District, retiring this past January. As a community leader, Swan helped launch a number of community-based organizations such as Northern Education Service and the former Springfield Action Commission. Swan provided moral, legislative, and financial leadership and support to the Springfield Schools, community-based organizations, minority veterans groups, substance abuse treatment, cultural festivals, the Springfield Arts Council, Springfield Technical Community College, and the UMass Downtown Center.

As an artist and the creator of the long-standing “Black Love Experience” radio program, Swan provides community updates in educational and cultural activities and shares inspirational black classical music.

Swan graduated from the former Springfield Technical High School. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the Fashion Design Institute and his master in education from the University of Massachusetts. Swan completed advanced graduate work at UMass, and received an honorary doctorate from Westfield State University. He has received many awards and recognitions, including the 1990 “Eye on the Prize” Award.

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